1.)By discussion or listing, review the events leading to and surrounding the Creek War, 1813-1814 (settlers and some Indians vs. Redstick Indians}:
a) American settlers' waste of natural resources and desire for new land westward;
b)The suggestion by the U.S. government (President Thomas Jefferson) of a federal road that would bring settlers through and into Indian territory,
c) Tecumseh's angry speech expressing hatred toward the white race and encouraging all Indian tribes to unite to unmercifully kill the white men, women, and children, and
d) The great earthquake of 1811 which many interpreted as a sign from a higher power to fight for their land/beliefs.
2.)List some key figures that played a role in the Creek War. These could include: Thomas Jefferson, Hopoithle Miko, Benjamin Hawkins, William McIntosh, Pushmataha, William Weatherford (Red Eagle), Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, Sam Dale, Menawa, and John Coffee.
3.)Have students brainstorm:
How do we know about these people and these events? (journals or letters they wrote)
Were they the only people at the time writing journals or letters? The teacher should at this time point out that "regular" people--settlers who were fighting and not fighting, their wives, children, Indians who were fighting and not fighting, their wives and children--were also involved in or affected by the Creek War and also wrote letters and kept journals.
NOTE: All Native Americans did not have a written language. Shortly after the war in 1820 Sequoyah created the Cherokee alphabet.
4.)Guide students into taking on the perspective of these different profiles. These could include: a Redstick warrior, wife of a Redstick warrior, child of a Redstick warrior, a Tennessee militiaman (or other volunteer fighting), wife of a militiaman, child of a militiaman, Indian fighting against Redsticks,
Indian not fighting (friendly with settlers),etc. Share with students some of the Internet resources included on the attached list. Read pertinent excerpts aloud together, particularly the first-person accounts on the first website from the list. These will help provide background information for the assignment.
5.)Have students brainstorm (whole class, individually, or small groups) what a typical day during the Creek War was like for each of these individuals. Questions might include:
What were their jobs, chores?
How did they feel?
What may their hopes have been?
What might they have been scared or fearful of?
*Remind students to keep in mind the technology and family roles of both cultures in the early 1800s.
6.)Tell students that they will be writing a journal entry from the perspective of a listed profile of "regular, everyday" people during the Creek War.
Model the writing assignment for students using chart paper or an overhead transparency. Write a sample journal entry from the perspective of one profile. What the teacher writes should come primarily from student input. However, guide students' statements for accuracy and be sure to address all parts of the writing prompt. Encourage students to come up with realistic dates for their journal entries (example, September 29, 1813), but remind them that their chores and activities should match the time of year. For instance, a child wouldn't write about wading in the creek and catching frogs during winter months.
7.)Check again for understanding of writing prompt. Provide students with the rubric to be used for grading their writing. Assign individually or to small groups of students (2-3).
Profiles can be chosen or assigned at random. Make reference materials available for students to use when questions arise. Encourage students to revisit the websites viewed earlier.
8.)Upon completion, allow students to type their stories. (Test beforehand for color-fastness of printer ink. If ink is not color-fast, students should hand write the entries in ink.) Encourage students to choose a font that looks "handwritten," if available.
9.)Briefly soak tea bags in water. Carefully tear the edges off the typed paper. Be certain that ink has dried completely. Allow students to use paintbrushes to carefully "stain" (not soak) their typed journals with tea for an old, antiqued look. As papers dry, they should wrinkle slightly to add to the effect.
10.)Complete the project by combining students' journal entries in a "Creek War Journal" laced together with string. Share these with other fourth grade classes as they study the same topic.